Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today said those maintaining silence on the "burning issue" of triple talaq are as "guilty" as those practising it.
Drawing an analogy between the silence of politicians on triple talaq and that of the nobles during the disrobing of 'Draupadi' in the Mahabharata, he said, "Those in the political class that are keeping mum need to be put in the dock along with the perpetrators of the crime and their accomplices."
Reacting sharply, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) termed Adityanath's remark as "jaahilaanaa" (foolish).
"These days, there is a new debate in the country on a burning issue. Some people are maintaining silence on this issue. This reminds me of the scene in the Mahabharata in which Draupadi is being disrobed and she asks a question to the gathering as to who is responsible for this incident, this sin?" Adityanath said.
"No one uttered even a single word. Only Vidur said people who have committed the crime, the accomplices and those who maintained silence on this issue are equally responsible," he said, referring to the practice of triple talaq.
Adityanath made these remarks at an event to mark the 91st birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.
Calling for an end to the Muslim practice of triple talaq the Chief Minister advocated a uniform civil code in the country.
His remarks came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch against the divisive issue of triple talaq, insisting that exploitation of Muslim women should end and justice be done to them.
Modi had, however, deprecated any attempt at creating a "conflict" within the Muslim community on the issue and suggested tackling it through social awareness.
On Adityanath's statement, AIMPLB General Secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said, "I don't know how to react to the jaahilaanaa (foolish) statement. He is linking talaq with a greater issue -- the disrobing of Draupadi. No sane person will do so. He is looking at things using a different lens (doosraa chashmaa)."
The AIMPLB at its meeting here yesterday had asserted that Muslims have a "constitutional" right to follow their personal law of which triple talaq was a part.
Rahmani had said the board has decided to issue a code of conduct and warned that those who give 'talaq' (divorce) without following the 'Sharia' (Islamic law) will face social boycott.
Adityanath today also referred to the issue of the uniform civil code and said, "Former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar had advocated the need for a common civil code in the country. When our issues are similar, then why the laws pertaining to marriages cannot be similar."
"Chandra Shekhar had a clear understanding of the Common Civil Code. For him, the interest of the nation was more important than his own ideology. Our politics should not revolve around attacking the nation's interest, but should be within the framework of the Constitution.
"The day we start working by remaining within the ambit of the Constitution, the situation of conflict and collision will not occur. And, then no one will dare to take law into their own hand," he said.
All India Shia Personal Law Board spokesperson Maulana Yasoob Abbas said, "Comparing talaq with disrobing of Draupadi is wrong. Triple talaq is wrong, and the also the tendency to remain silent on this issue. Inflicting talaq (divorce) on a woman is a sin, but it cannot be equated with disrobing."
President of the All India Muslim Woman Personal Law Board Shaista Amber said, "Talaq should not be compared to disrobing of Draupadi. Our Hindu sisters are also beaten up for dowry, the PM and the CM should comment on this issue as well."
"Watching a crime being committed is also a crime and there should be stringent laws to deal with criminal elements," she said.
On the AIMPLB's statement that those who give triple talaq without valid Sharia reasons will face social boycott, Amber said, "Social boycott merely will not suffice as it will not give justice to the oppressed woman."